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Friday, Feb 27, 2015

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Wasteland 2 Visual Upgrade Coming

A post to the Wasteland 2 blog has details on plans to update the RPG sequel with "some more balancing and improvements" as well as an upgrade to the Unity 5 engine which will include visual upgrades as well as ability to offer improved mod tools. Here's the plan:

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on things, you might have heard tell that we’re looking at doing some more balancing and improvements of Wasteland 2 in the future. We have expanded our original plan and decided that this is going to be a part of something much larger for all our fans.

In pursuit of this goal, one task we’re working on right now is migrating the Wasteland 2 codebase from the Unity 4.5 engine to Unity 5, which will enable some new possibilities for us. A major benefit of moving to Unity 5 is that 5 will include many of the tools from Unity 4.x Pro. We relied on many of these tools during our development (like creating and building navigation meshes), and they will be available to modders without having to pay thousands of dollars for a Pro Unity license. There is no doubt that this migration will allow us to release better tools for modding to our community in the future.

So what’s the “something bigger” that I teased earlier? Let’s just say that the Orange County lifestyle might be getting to us as the game will be receiving a facelift. Unity 5 offers physically based shading, which is already starting to look amazing in the scenes we’ve touched up.

As well as visual improvements, we have quite a few quirky tricks up our sleeves. The character system is getting perked up and will include some new elements to modify gameplay. Of course, more details will be released in the future so stay tuned!

Train Fever Free DLC

Train Fever has a fever, and the only cure is more trainbell, so publisher Gambitious and developer Urban are offering a new USA DLC pack as a free download on Steam. The game itself is currently on sale for 66% off, and here's word on the new free content: "With the USA DLC, a complete American game mode is added to Train Fever. Equivalent to the original European game mode, the player starts in 1850 and experiences more than 150 years of railroad history. More than 50 realistic American vehicles including trains, buses, streetcars and trucks are included."

DARK SOULS II: Scholar of the First Sin Trailer

A new video shows off the upcoming DARK SOULS II: Scholar of the First Sin, the repackaged version of From Software's action/RPG sequel. Word is: "The new video highlights the new NPC invader, The Forlorn, as he hunts down players through the game with deadly skill and tenacity." Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

  • The Deer God on Steam. Save 15%.
  • Oblitus on Steam. Save 20%.
  • Social Justice Warriors on Steam. Save 25%.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Resident Evil 2 Co-op Apology

A Resident Evil Revelations 2 / Biohazard Revelations 2 Steam Community Group Announcement offers an "update on local split-screen coop" (thanks GameInformer). Capcom apologizes for promising local split-screen co-op for the PC edition, explaining the reason this is not included is because it was never planned as part of the PC release, and shouldn't have been part of its description. They say they are looking into potential solutions:

We apologize to our Resident Evil Revelations 2 PC players who purchased the game and expected to have local co-op as a feature. The feature wasn’t intended for this version and that caveat was mistakenly omitted from the product description on the Steam page earlier, and then included as soon as we were made aware. This was an unintentional error and again, we apologize for the confusion this may have caused.

We are currently looking into the matter and potential solutions and we hope to have new information to share very soon, so please stay tuned. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Steamship Ahoy - Pneuma: Breath of Life

Pneuma: Breath of Life is now available for Windows via Steam, and the adventure game is also now available for Xbox One, and a launch trailer shows off the game's Unreal Engine 4 graphics and offers clues about where the story will lead. "We’re ecstatic about the launch of Pneuma on both Xbox & PC. We can’t wait to see players’ reactions to Pneuma when they unearth the games deepest secrets," says Joe Brammer, Producer at Deco Digital. "What's best is that, we hope, the players who finish the game will have their own unique take on the experience and be able to create their own theories about Pneuma and his world... and maybe even question their own." Here's more:

The story of Pneuma is one that can be only be told through the medium of videogames, where players explore the fundamental nature of being through the inner monologue of award winning voice actor, Jay Britton. The developers hope that by the end of the game, players will have have their own unique take on the experience and be able to create their own theories about Pneuma and his world... and maybe even question their own.

In the game players solve difficult lateral thinking puzzles that will challenge your ability to think outside the box by moving doors, bridges and entire rooms using a unique observation mechanic through the power of you mind. Unreal Engine 4 takes this experience to the next level through Pneuma’s godlike roman environments, which can also be experienced in virtual reality mode on the Steam version with the Oculus Rift DK2.

The Steam version has launched with a 10% discount for one week only.

Continue here to read the full story.

Mute Announced

RGBird Games announces Mute, an open-world survival game coming to Windows, OS X, and Linux, thanks to its use of the Unity Engine. They describe this as being in the pre-alpha stage, and they are running a Greenlight campaign to get on Steam. Here's a trailer and more:

You will be tasked with surviving the wilderness and its local fauna, which can see, hear and smell you. Merely hiding behind cover and staying quiet is no longer enough to ensure survival, especially if the wind is against you. All living creatures leave tracks that can be followed. Predators are also an unremitting danger so you must watch out for them and their hunting grounds too.

The game world takes inspiration from a number of spectacular locations in the Western United States, such as Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon and Yellowstone National Park, just to name a few. The world reaches over an area of roughly sixteen square kilometres (a little over six square miles) and presents the player with a vast assortment of terrain to explore, including deserts, mountains, saves, canyons, forests and a few other locations that will be kept secret for now. Each environment has its own unique fauna. The player will be encounter wolves, mountain lions, bears, deer, snakes and more.

Space Sluggers Announced

Publisher Surprise Attack Games announces Space Sluggers, a top-down twin-stick shooter intentionally imbued with a proper dose of 90s-inspired cheesiness. This is in development at Rocktastic games for release for Windows, Linux, and OS X sometime this year. The Space Sluggers website is online with some details and this trailer showing off the game. Word is: "Playing like the result of a Mass Effect, Diablo and Smash TV threesome, Space Sluggers is a game for fans of shooting aliens in the head, non-stop cheesy sci-fi and making choices that matter." Continue here to read the full story.

MyRPG Master Early Access

Dragon Head Studio announces the release of MyRPG Master on Steam as an early access title with a discount price based on its alpha state, and they say the beta will begin this summer and a full release is planned before the end of the year. Here's word on the development tools this will put in the hands of everyday gamers:

The software is delivered with a large built-in object library the user can use to build their own worlds and adventures. This library is updated on weekly basis with new assets and will offer thousands of flora, fauna, buildings, creatures and many more items. And for even more creativity, users can add any 3D object of their choice through the collada files importer.

MyRPG also introduces another feature widely expected by RPG creators: the opportunity to choose their own rule system. They can choose between dice systems, like in classic pen and paper games, or formulas like in most MMORPGs. They can also work on their full own rule system or import those of their favorite pen and paper RPG.

Morning Patches

Op Ed

Kotaku - How Anita Sarkeesian Wants Video Games To Change. Thanks JDreyer.
As little as Sarkeesian mentioned her critics, I sensed that a lot of the start of her talk was designed to address their criticisms. First, she seemed to be challenging claims that she thinks games make people do things. "When I say that media matters and has an influence on our lives, I'm not saying it's a 1:1 correlation or a monkey-see, monkey-do situation," she said, "but rather that media's influence is subtle and helps to shape our attitudes, beliefs and values for better and for worse. Media can inspire greatness and challenge the status quo or sadly, more often, it can demoralize and reinforce systems of power and privilege and oppression."

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

What Color Is This Dress? The fight is between white & gold versus blue & black. So what does the colorblind guy see? Blue & gold. I'm not trying to be different, that's genuinely how I see it, though this is a little influenced by the question, as I would describe the gold as more of a brown. Anyway, in spite of my color issues, seems I am pretty close to being right. Weird.

R.I.P.: Earl Lloyd, 1st black player to appear in NBA game, dies.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Tap Heroes.
Mario Physics Adventure.
Trollface Quest Sports.
Link: Zombie outbreak: Statistical mechanics reveal the ideal hideout.
Stories: Ford Set, Villenueve To Helm "Blade Runner 2."
Supreme court justice cites Dr. Seuss.
Science: Gene that makes human brain unique identified by scientists.
Images: Thunderbirds Are Go: first pictures of new Lady Penelope and Brains.
Media: Elders Play Five Nights at Freddy's 2.
Electrical wiring problems. Will they post video of the fire?
Flow Hive - Honey directly on tap from your beehive.
Follow-up: "Alien 5" Won't Ignore Sequels After All?

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Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

FCC Reinstates Net Neutrality; Unfetters Local Broadband

FCC votes for net neutrality, a ban on paid fast lanes, and Title II. What can you do as an encore after that? Overturn state laws that protect ISPs from local competition. Then you drop the mic. Here's word on the net neutrality decision from FCC chairman Tom Wheeler:

The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. It is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field. Think about it. The Internet has replaced the functions of the telephone and the post office. The Internet has redefined commerce, and as the outpouring from four million Americans has demonstrated, the Internet is the ultimate vehicle for free expression. The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules.

This proposal has been described by one opponent as "a secret plan to regulate the Internet." Nonsense. This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech. They both stand for the same concepts: openness, expression, and an absence of gate keepers telling people what they can do, where they can go, and what they can think.

Fable Legends to be Free-to-Play

The Fable Legends website announces this will be a free-to-play game, saying, "You’ll be able to play Fable Legends from beginning-to-end without spending a penny. That means you’ll have access to the entirety of Fable Legends’ storyline and all of the quests we release this year and forever." Here's a trailer where Lionhead game director David Eckelberry explains the new business plan for the four versus one action game. Here's word:

So what does free to play mean for Fable Legends? To help explain our approach to free to play, we’ve laid out three clear commitments: OPEN
You’ll be able to play Fable Legends from beginning-to-end without spending a penny. That means you’ll have access to the entirety of Fable Legends’ storyline and all of the quests we release this year and forever.

Everything in Fable Legends that affects gameplay can be earned by simply playing the game.

Our goal is to have a happy community of players. We’ll be updating the game with exciting new quests to play through, Heroes to play as, Villain creatures to control, and lots more.

So how does Fable Legends work as a free to play game?

In Fable Legends, whether you’re adventuring as a Hero or smiting as a Villain, you will earn Silver to spend in-game. Everything that makes your Heroes or your creatures more powerful can be bought with the silver that you earn.

You’ll also be able to buy gold with real-world money, which can then be used to purchase many of the items that are also available for Silver.

Continue here to read the full story.

Supernova Announced

BANDAI NAMCO announces Supernova, a free-to-play MOBA with RTS elements they plan to launch for Windows PCs later this year. The Supernova website is online, accepting signups for alpha testing, which commences today. They also offer a cinematic trailer as well as a gameplay trailer. Here's the announcement:

BANDAI NAMCO Games America Inc. announces the epic new addition to their growing free-to-play lineup, Supernova, set to launch on PCs later this year. Set in the distant, space-faring future Supernova takes an innovative approach to the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre by adding real-time strategy (RTS) elements and promises an exciting science fiction setting with vast potential.

In Supernova the universe is the battle arena, and players must battle as humans or aliens for their race’s right to exist. Commanders from across the galaxy pit themselves against each other to save their race from extinction -- only the strongest commanders can save their species from interstellar annihilation. Players choose from a wide variety of commanders to control, such as giant robots, cyborgs, or interstellar races adapted to the unyielding harshness of space.

Atop this creative foundation, Supernova, allows lane minions to be upgraded in ways familiar to any RTS player providing an additional element of strategy to this truly unique MOBA. Infantry, mechanized land and air units provide a rock-paper-scissors triad to push the lane with depth only possible in Supernova.

Continue here to read the full story.

On PC Battlefield Hardline

The Battlefield website has an article on the Windows edition of Mike Glosecki, gameplay systems producer for Battlefield Hardline and self-professed hardcore gamer, who gives a rundown on what's being done to ensure Battlefield Hardline is a great PC game. He starts off explaining this is not a port of a console game: "Battlefield Hardline is being built on PC alongside the other platforms. We’re doing what we can to take advantage of people’s different system with the graphics, framerate, controls, etc. We’re not just porting it over. Battlefield started on the PC with 1942 and we know we have a passionate fan base on this platform. Fans can expect the huge 64-player battles with that rock, paper, scissor gameplay that they have come to love in Hardline as well." Here's more on the PC edition:

What About the Power of PCs?
The PC allows you to customize the experience to your liking. You can play at much higher resolutions, 1920x1080 and beyond up to the capabilities of your video card. You can also use much higher graphic settings on PC – which you gives you the best texture filtering, texture quality, and anti-aliasing in addition to other benefits. You can adjust your field of view or run higher than 60 FPS if you choose. You can even play with a three monitor setup for an immersive experience. Lastly, you get to use a mouse and keyboard which gives you the best control setup for a first person shooter.

How Stable Will the Game Be on PC?
Stability has been one of the largest areas we’re focusing our attention at Visceral while developing Hardline. I think we can all agree that Battlefield 4’s stability at launch was less than stellar. In order to address stability for our game at launch, we’ve had the game up and running in the multiplayer environment for the last two years with both the development and quality assurance teams playing in daily matches. We’ve run two betas for the game as well, one at E3 and the pre-launch beta which just completed on Feb 9th. Both of these have not only helped us solidify the stability of our servers, but have also provided great feedback for us to address in the game. As a side note, we are also making changes to Battlelog to include a new pop-up on how to activate the plugin in your browser since this was an issue for some of our players.

Europa Universalis IV Free Weekend

Steam News announces a free weekend and sale are underway for Europa Universalis IV. Here's the description of the strategy sequel:

Paradox Development Studio is back with the fourth installment of the award-winning Europa Universalis series. The empire building game Europa Universalis IV gives you control of a nation to guide through the years in order to create a dominant global empire. Rule your nation through the centuries, with unparalleled freedom, depth and historical accuracy. True exploration, trade, warfare and diplomacy will be brought to life in this epic title rife with rich strategic and tactical depth.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 - Episode 2 Teaser

CapCom Unity has posted a Resident Evil Revelations 2 - Episode 2 teaser trailer with a TV-style approach. It may be a dubious decision to watch, however, as they say: "I wouldn't necessarily consider these spoilers, but if you want to remain completely out of the loop maybe read up on Raid Mode or something :)" Continue here to read the full story.

Dying Light Interactive Video

The Dying Light website offers an interactive "Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone" feature promoting Techland's zombie game. Here's word:

In the zombie apocalypse, when the night falls the rules of survival change. Who lives and who dies can be determined at the simple flip of a switch. Released today by Techland, “Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone” is an interactive story that seamlessly showcases the drastic changes between day and night in Dying Light.

The video presents daytime and nighttime side-by-side where the viewer can switch between the scenarios by pressing ‘Z’ on their keyboard and see how the same story of the quarantine can unfold in two very contrasting directions.

Mortal Kombat X Trailer

Hang on to your spinal column, as a new trailer shows off fatalities in Mortal Kombat X, the upcoming brawler sequel. Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

  • Emergency 5 - Deluxe Edition on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Galactic Civilizations Series on Steam. Save up to 75%
  • Humble Weekly Bundle: Made in Japan on Humble Bundle.

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Link of the Day: February's Best News Bloopers. "The poop!" Thanks nin.

Far Cry 4 Valley of the Yetis Next Month

Get ready for some bigfoot sightings, as Ubisoft announces March 10th is the release date for the Valley of the Yetis add-on for Far Cry 4, the first-person shooter sequel. They offer a new trailer from the DLC and the following explanation:

Players step back into the role of Ajay at the moment his helicopter crashes on a perilous Himalayan ridge. Stranded with no shelter, players must capture a camp and guard it from a mysterious cult who will return to reclaim their encampment. If players persevere, they will have more to fear than a stand-off against the cult, as yetis lurk in the shadows.

Players can take on Valley of the Yetis in single-player or with a friend in co-op as they fight to survive in the harsh Himalayan Mountains. While searching for a way out of the valley, they will unravel the mysteries behind the yetis.

Valley of the Yetis is available as part of the Far Cry 4 Season Pass or can be purchased separately. The Season Pass includes Valley of the Yetis as well as The Syringe, Escape from Durgesh Prison, the Hurk Deluxe Pack and Overrun.

Continue here to read the full story.

Ship Ahoy - République Remastered

Indie developer Camouflaj announces that the first three episodes of République Remastered are now available for Windows and OS X on GOG.com, Humble Store, and Steam (hats off to Steam for being the only service to gracefully handle the ill-advised "é" in the game's title). Word is the remake is the first game to show off the power of the Unity 5 engine: "RÉPUBLIQUE REMASTERED is the first commercial game to fully utilize the power of Unity 5, the next generation of the Unity multiplatform engine and development tool. Camouflaj has fully embraced the engine’s features, including physically based shading, real-time global illumination, and reflection probes." Here's a refresher on the game:

In RÉPUBLIQUE REMASTERED, players assist Hope, a desperate young woman struggling to escape from a secret, Orwellian state. Communicating using a stolen phone, Hope contacts the player and asks them to hack into the nation’s surveillance system, assume control, and guide her out of the clutches of the omnipresent Overseer. Literary works such as 1984 and Brave New World, and current geopolitical events including global surveillance and Internet censorship serve as key sources of inspiration for both the narrative and the stealth-survival gameplay. Players expand their control over surveillance cameras and other network-enabled devices, growing into an active threat to the Overseer and his grip over his shadowy nation.

RÉPUBLIQUE REMASTERED introduces Rena Strober as the voice of Hope, backed by an all-star voice talent team. Jennifer Hale (Commander Shepard, Mass Effect series) plays Hope’s mentor, Mireille Prideaux, while David Hayter (Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid series) gives voice to Zager, revolutionary and ghost in the political machine. Also featured are veteran voice actors Khary Payton (Batman: Arkham Origins), and Dwight Schultz (killer7).

New Guild Wars 2 Cameras to Include First-Person

ArenaNet announces they will add new camera options including a first-person viewpoint to Guild Wars 2 in a patch for the MMORPG they plan to release on March 10th. They plan on unveiling this further in a livestream tomorrow on Twitch which should get underway at 3:00 pm EST (9:00 pm CET/ 20:00 GMT) and that will be followed by a new article on the plan on GuildWars2.com. Here are the details they are revealing for now:

  • First-person Camera
    Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any restrictions on where first-person can be used.
  • Field of View
    A much requested feature, the field of view slider is a setting that will allow players to adjust how much can be seen in the game world. Players can use a slider to shrink or enlarge the field of view.
  • Position Slider
    The Position Slider has been split into two different options, horizontal position and vertical position. The horizontal position slider will offset the camera to the left and right. An ‘over-the-shoulder’ view can be created as well to keep the centre of the screen clear. The vertical position sets the maximum height the camera can go when the camera is at maximum distance from a character. The actual camera height will adjust the more you zoom in to ensure that your character is always on the screen.
  • Collision Sensitivity
    When enabled, this setting will adjust how much stuff (trees, walls, rocks, etc.) needs to be between a player’s character and camera before the camera snaps in.
  • Character Height
    No matter the race or size, the camera will now focus on a character’s head. This is going to give norn players a relatively taller feeling than their asura-playing friends. This change might affect players who frequent jumping puzzles, so to counteract this, there is an adjust camera to character height toggle. When unchecked, the camera will move to a consistent position above the character’s feet, regardless of how big or small the character is.

Steamship Ahoy - A Druid's Duel

Steam now offers A Druid's Duel for Windows, OS X, and Linux, saying this is a variation on a "board game like chess" (are we at the point where board games need context like that?). Here's more:

To understand A Druid's Duel, take a board game like Chess, where each piece has a set of rules that govern it. Then, add in the ability to capture, create, and destroy tiles on the board. Finally, use the captured land to generate resources to buy new pieces. Perhaps Tom Chick, professional strategy game reviewer and the big boss over at Quarter to Three summed it up best, "A wonderfully plucky exercise in territory control, chess-like simplicity, mana management, landscaping, and rampaging bears."

Morning Patches

Morning Screenshots

  • Homeworld on Kotaku. Concept art. Thanks JDreyer.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Today is the 86th anniversary of the establishment of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. I'm hoping this means the U.S. is the only nation on Earth with something so officially commemorating big breasts, which is what grand tetons means in French (and everyone thinks we're prudes!). Starts to make you wonder if there's some hidden meaning to the name of Jackson Hole. Just saying.

Grand Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Mad Day.
Steel Dangers 2.
Indy Cat.
Stories: Blomkamp‘s Alien Movie Will Ignore Alien 3 and Resurrection. Thank goodness (and nin).
Cherry Magnate Shoots Self in Head as Cops Raid Hidden Drug Stash.
Science: Earth’s Other ‘Moon’ And Its Crazy Orbit Could Reveal Mysteries Of The Solar System. Thanks Derek.
Peanut consumption in infancy helps prevent peanut allergies in kids at high risk, study finds. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: FROZEN - Blood Test scene (NSFW). Thanks JDreyer.
Try To Guess How Many Basset Hounds Are Going To Come Out Of This Dog House.
Foodfight Matarslagur. NSFW.

Slashdot - News for Nerds! Read the funny pages. Supporting free speech on the Internet Go nuts! Use Lynx and see if I care.


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